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Behind the Lens Part 2 of 3: Hidden Diversity in a Visual Field

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash via creative commons.
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Picture of Cassie Suppes in front of a pink wall, Cassie is smiling with one leg up holding her hair and there's a thin white outline around her body.
Photo Courtesy of Cassie Suppes.

Cassie Suppes took a leap of faith when she moved across the United States of America to attend Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. The school has an astounding drop-out rate of 62% and is not considered an easy school to get into let alone graduate from. While SCAD is a challenging university, the success far outweighs the hard work because not only does it prepare artists for the real world, it has a 92% success rate with job placement after graduation. Suppes currently pursues a major in fine art fashion photography with advertising products with the hopes of following her passion while helping others to fulfill their own creative vision.

My job as a photographer is to have the world see things through my eyes.”

Cassie Suppes in an exclusive interview.

Hidden Diversity in Art School

Brick building with wrought iron finishing. A sign that says: "The Savannah College of Art and Design" above a doorway. There's a wrought iron and wood landing above the sign.
Photo by Karan Jain via Creative Commons on Flickr.

Photography’s meaning changes depending on who the artist is, what their motivations/intent are, and how they choose to present their work. Photography specifically is even more unique in that there are various minors and concentrations to choose from, a lot of diverse ways to creatively express the world around you and how you see it. Suppes wanted to add her own vision of the world to a collective narrative that was, during her freshman year, full of white men. Being largely male-dominated, she wanted to add her own work in order to show them how she saw and interacted with the world around her. Still lacking in visual diversity, she noticed that her classmates held hidden aspects of their identities that made the group extremely diverse in forms of thought. Hidden diversity started being teased out of her classmates through the different projects they chose to work on and through discussions of the meaning of their work. Her classmates, despite looking the same, all had different lives and ways of viewing the world that centered around things such as: sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, language, economic class, etc. Things no one could see visually were teased out of their artwork bit by bit. Although people in her classes lack visual diversity she believes that this will change soon because “[North] America has the front running in creative careers simply because it is seen as important” and it is a nation that prides itself on diverse thought and opinion.

Social Media As Art & Communication

Smoke billowing out above Notre Dame
Photo by Nivenn Lanos on Unsplash via Creative Commons.

Cassie Suppes pointed out that people tend to forget that social media is itself an art form that is a “way we’re able to see the whole world”. She thinks that photography helps to aide in social media communication and she referenced how fast this communication is, and how it helps to influence each of our world views. Suppes was in France studying photography when Notre dame went up in flames and said that in “that exact moment the whole world is able to watch it because of social media”. Social media has a unique ability to use art-forms to disseminate information around the world in seconds but as Suppes reminds, it’s an art form itself that lends itself to interpretation.

All we can do as artists is hope that we mean something and create something that’s worth something to someone”

Cassie Suppes in an exclusive interview.

All art is up for interpretation and sometimes it is impossible to describe what meaning it has. Suppes illustrated this by referring to a piece of viral artwork. Suppes said that artwork can be “completely absurd. A banana duct-taped to a wall should not cost that much money, but it did because to someone that meant something”. This makes art hard to judge and even harder to create, but to any aspiring photographers or creatives out there, Cassie Suppes has a few words of advice:

Photo of Cassie Suppes standing in front of a black wall spraypainted in neon blue and pink patterns. Cassie is sticking out her tongue.
Photo Courtesy of Cassie Suppes from her Instagram Page.

“Be prepared to put your soul out on a tray and have people slap it to the ground, step on it and say it’s nothing because that’ll happen a lot more than you think it will. But in the end, if it’s something you’re passionate about, just try. Go forth and let the world see through your eyes”.

Cassie Suppes in an exclusive interview.
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